Folded pages featuring typography by Adi Floyde for BA (Hons) Graphic Design
UCAS Code
W210
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2020

Overview

On this multi-award winning BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course, you'll bring your creative ideas to life using the latest software and professional tools. You’ll examine the core principles of graphic design, learning how to apply your talent using traditional and digital media.

You’ll develop creative problem solving skills and learn to use design software including Adobe InDesign and Illustrator to give your design work a professional finish. The skills you acquire will enable you to join and contribute to the constantly evolving world of media and design.

A degree in graphic design could open doors to a creative career in areas such as editorial and print design, interactive and web design, motion graphics and specialist typography.

The curriculum on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design course has a strong emphasis on research- and industry-informed design practice. Many of the course lecturers are active researchers and we have strong links with the design industry.

Past students from this course have been commended in the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), and won the You Can Now (YCN) and British Design & Art Direction (D&AD) New Blood “Ones to Watch” awards. Students have also gained membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers, been featured in Digital Arts magazine, Blueprint magazine and Creative Boom, and won designer of the year and the Screening Prize at New Designers.

93% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE 2017)

98% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this Graphic Design degree course you’ll:

  • Access specialist production facilities to develop techniques like screen printing, letterpress, laser cutting and dye sublimation printing
  • Take Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) qualifications as part of the course – one of our final-year students won the industry-acclaimed UK Adobe Championship in 2017
  • Get an industry perspective from guest speakers – past guests have included Alan Kitching, Mark Ovenden, and industry professionals from design studios FontSmith and SomeOne
  • Be taught by a mix of academic staff and working professionals
  • Have the opportunity to enter international competitions like YCN, RSA, D&AS and achieve membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (iSTD)
  • Have the opportunity to take part in events like SKY Creative Day
  • Choose whether to do a traditional dissertation or produce a practical project

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

What can you do with a Graphic Design degree?

You could work in many areas of media, including:

  • magazine design publishing
  • branding and design agencies
  • art direction and advertising
  • website design
  • work in the television and film industries
  • further study and research

Graduates from this course have gone on to work with these companies and design studios:

You could also set up your own business or work as a freelancer. Examples of businesses past students have set up include:

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules

What you'll do

You'll research and create pictograms, infographics and context specific data visualisations.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of how design content works in relation to the form and purpose communicated through designed artefacts
  • Recognise and demonstrate appropriate use of technology
  • Present work clearly to both staff and your own peer group
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes, tutorials and supervised workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 155 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll learn about the major design movements and work in a small team to conduct research into designers and studios. You'll also familiarise yourself with University facilities including the library and IT systems.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Use the University's library and IT systems to access research on a given topic and evaluate, prepare and present it in an appropriate form
  • Experience and contribute to team work, group critique, presentation and debate
  • Demonstrate, by research and practice, the ability to use appropriate software to create and present a finished group visual presentation
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and supervised workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 153 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll also learn study skills that will support academic writing within the context of visual culture.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of visual culture
  • Examine key debates related to visual culture history and theory
  • Communicate knowledge and ideas in writing
  • Analyse images in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts
  • Express ideas and knowledge in visual form
  • Demonstrate an understanding of research, academic referencing, citation and bibliographic techniques
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, tutorials and fieldwork.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 158 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a practical exercise (50% of final mark)
  • a 1,500-word written assignment (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll explore historical and contemporary good practice in sequential design and motion graphics, look at on-screen typography and storyboarding, and examine the relationship between moving and still images. You'll also explore the importance of sound in motion graphics, and the pacing and timing of sequences.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Collect, document, analyse and communicate textual and visual research within a historical and contemporary context
  • Develop and apply concepts, through the contextualisation of research practice, for sequential design problem solving
  • Demonstrate the ability to use appropriate software/technology in contextual problem solving, to construct a sequence through a motion graphics outcome
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and supervised workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 159 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll research and create grid systems and composition for media specific outputs.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate your awareness of current design practice in publications, including typography, form, function and content
  • Recognise and demonstrate appropriate use of technology in your work
  • Present your work clearly and informatively, both to your lecturers and your peers
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, tutorials and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 155 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

Year 2

Core modules

What you'll do

You'll create a hand-bound booklet with a screen-printed dust jacket as you study typography for continuous reading, book binding, layout, print production methods and the software Adobe InDesign.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical understanding of form, function and content in relation to graphic design and typography.
  • Understand content and content driven design, the appropriate use of applied methodologies, technologies and materials.
  • Present your own work and ideas and develop practical knowledge of readability and legibility, layout, typesetting styles and formats
  • Use intermediate typographic terminology and select typefaces appropriately.
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, tutorials and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 161.5 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll design and produce a graphic design artefact that articulates your ethical position, evaluating and reflecting on the research you've conducted into potential cultural, ethical and political issues.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical awareness of ethical issues in design practice
  • Recognise and critically engage with didactic material
  • Demonstrate development of critical awareness
  • Generate work that communicates chosen content from an informed position
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 157.5 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll explore team work and project planning, organisation and communication, as well as pitching and presentation, in relation to professional design practice.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate your creative and professional handling of issues relating to identities, branding and promotion
  • Use your technical skills and processes related to identity, branding and promotion appropriately
  • Work in a team, meeting professional design industry requirements
  • Identify audiences and design appropriate solutions
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes, workshops, tutorials, lectures and supervised studio time.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You're encouraged to take a user/human-centric design approach to a given problem. You'll work with industry standard software to create an innovative solution to the problem.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the relation between content and its visualisation, and its importance to user interaction
  • Use the software and technology needed to implement your design concepts
  • Research, develop and apply innovative conceptual frameworks in an interactive design project
  • Communicate research practice through interactive design
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, tutorials, lectures and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154.5 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark).

Optional modules

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Work independently with less need for supervision and direction
  • Communicate a detailed knowledge of the contexts of business and industry-specific practices relevant to your chosen field
  • Demonstrate awareness of ideas, contexts and frameworks within self-employment, freelancing or business start-ups
  • Develop professional working relationships within industry/business disciplines
  • Proactively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your own criteria and judgement relating to your business practice, future learning and future employability goals
Teaching activities

N/A

Independent study time

N/A

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Work independently with less need for supervision and direction
  • Communicate a detailed knowledge of the contexts of business and industry-specific practices relevant to your chosen field
  • Demonstrate awareness of ideas, contexts and frameworks within your chosen area of employment
  • Develop professional working relationships within industry/business disciplines
  • Proactively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your own criteria and judgement relating to your business practice, future learning and future employability goals
Teaching activities

N/A

Independent study time

N/A

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do 

You'll add a global dimension to your studies and develop knowledge and skills essential for roles in the global workforce. To choose this option, you'll have to pass a selection process.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Evaluate your activities abroad, and how they relate to your studies at Portsmouth
  • Demonstrate your independence and skills by managing and completing tasks in an overseas study environment
  • Reflect on your personal development, and how your exchange experience enhanced your employability prospects
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend supervised workshops, practical classes and lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 600 hours studying independently. This is around 36 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark, assessed on a pass/fail basis).

What you'll do

You'll do this by engaging in interdisciplinary work, developing an appreciation of other creative disciplines and understanding how professionals collaborate.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate independent, analytical and creative attributes
  • Demonstrate the ability to be an effective team player, able to provide leadership and to support the success of others
  • Communicate clearly and effectively using various methods and to different audiences
Teaching activities

On this module you'll work independently and in groups with regular tutorial support, and also attend some briefings and lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently. This is around 10.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a group presentation (40% of final mark)
  • an individual portfolio (40% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word report (20% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify future career goals and reflect on these to develop a personal development plan (programme of learning), which includes suitable work experience and skills/knowledge development opportunities
  • Arrange suitable work experience, engage with personal development opportunities and analyse relevant literature relating to enhancing your employment opportunities
  • Critically evaluate and articulate your learning (knowledge, skills and attributes) in relation to your future career goals
Teaching activities

On this module you'll take part in work-based learning and attend lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 188 hours doing work-based learning or studying independently. This is around 11 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word report (20% of final mark)
  • a 3,000-word report (80% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Through research and practice, work inside the design parameters and technical requirements of an externally set brief
  • Creatively problem-solve to identify audience needs and create an appropriate design solution
  • Use professional technical skills and processes to produce work
  • Develop and critically reflect on high-level organisational skills needed for a professional design context
  • Evaluate appropriate content and build a selective portfolio
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes, workshops, tutorials, lectures and supervised studio time.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll form a small group (typically with 4 other students) and work through areas such as designing, manufacturing and pitching ideas. The knowledge and skill you will get through this module will help you to run your own business, but are also transferable skills you can use in many other careers.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically reflect on your effectiveness at tasks that use employability skills such as project planning, communication, time management, leadership and teamwork
  • Evaluate the theory and complete the practice of establishing and running a business enterprise
  • Understand the systems commonly used to plan, record and monitor business decisions and company transactions
  • Critically reflect on the factors that contribute towards the success or failure of business start ups
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently (including group work). This is around 10.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through: 

  • a 2,000 word report (50% of your final mark)
  • an oral assessment and presentation (50% of your final mark)

What you'll do

You'll explore design, fashion, illustration, photography, film, television and online materials associated with fandom and collecting. This is in preparation for your third-year research module.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Discuss critical issues in contemporary visual culture, with particular focus on cult fandom, collecting, material culture and taste
  • Understand the historical, social and political contexts of taste and material culture
  • Analyse issues pertaining to cult fandom, collecting, material culture and taste in graphic design, illustration, photography, fashion, film, television and online
  • Use research skills, such as academic referencing, citation and bibliographic techniques
  • Identify a topic and appropriate research methods for your level 6 research module
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials, lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, and external visits.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 3,000-word set coursework exercise (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll cover theoretical and historical approaches to individual and collective identities through a series of case studies, past and present, and prepare for your third-year research module.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Discuss critical issues in contemporary visual culture, particularly issues of identity
  • Analyse visual representations of identity in graphic design, illustration, photography, fashion, film, television and online
  • Understand the historical, social and political contexts of identity.
  • Use research skills, such as academic referencing, citation and bibliographic techniques
  • Identify a topic and appropriate research methods for your level 6 research module
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 3,000-word essay (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll consider how the image has been reproduced and circulated historically as you explore research methods and prepare for a third-year research project.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Engage critically with theoretical debates in visual culture, and apply your understanding to your creative work.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the history of selected key technologies of reproduction, and their impact on visual culture
  • Present your knowledge and ideas in appropriate academic style
  • Write proposals for research work, setting out appropriate methods and goals for a prescribed framework
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 3000-word essay (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll learn about Western figurative art's use of the body for expression and narrative, and Modernist fantasies of technological enhancement, to feminist and queer theorists' challenges to dominant conceptions of the body.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of key theories and histories of the body in visual culture
  • Discuss images and texts relating to concepts and representations of the body
  • Identify, select and discuss relevant supplementary materials independently
  • Present your knowledge as a coherently written argument
  • Define a viable topic for your Level 6 visual culture research module
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials, practical classes and workshops, external visits, lectures and seminars.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 3000-word report (100% of final mark).

Year 3

Core modules

What you'll do

You'll use primary research, such as interviews and museum visits, alongside the critical examination of textual and visual research from books, periodicals or the web. Your research in this module will be used in the co-requisite module, 'Major Project In Graphic Design - Resolution And Presentation'.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Perform sustained critical enquiry, both textual and visual, into a specialist area of graphic design
  • Critically appraise and synthesise information from key texts, debates and practitioners, both historical and contemporary, in relation to the development of project work
  • Evidence design processes and experimentation and evidence of decision-making in the research
  • Communicate effectively both abstract and tangible concepts through appropriate presentation forms
  • Evidence a process of critical reflection, evaluation and justification in relation to the research and development of project work.
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, lectures, tutorials and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark) – research journals and sketchbooks

What you'll do

You'll also set out the process you used to resolve your research proposal.

Along with your finished artifact, you'll deliver a 10-minute presentation showing your results.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Evidence a process of sustained textual and visual investigation and experimentation with regards to processes, techniques and materials when completing designed work
  • Evidence a process of evaluation with regards to message aims, context and audience including appropriate choice of design framework and aesthetics with regard to intended audience
  • Evaluate the function of graphic design produced in an academic context and its likely application in a professional context
  • Justify the chosen medium and methodologies employed in the realisation of the solution to a personally determined design brief
  • Critically evaluate the processes, techniques and materials employed to produce the solution to a personally determined design brief
  • Adapt the dissemination of the content and context of produced design work at varying academic, industry and professional standards
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in the studio/workshop and lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 163 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a portfolio (80% of final mark)
  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (20% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll work towards meeting the standards required by projects, awards or other international competition briefs set and judged by industry professionals and academics in design practice. This could include the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) or projects led by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Understand, analyse and combine complex information in relation to a design brief
  • Solve problems independently through the creation and development of a creative design solution
  • Critically evaluate your own work with reference to professional design practice
  • Show your technical knowledge and ability through the production of a creative solution
  • Demonstrate professional project management and media management skills
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, seminars, supervised time in the studio/workshop, lectures and tutorials.

Activities delivered through your workshops, tutorials, seminars and supervised studio practice include brief examples, external speakers, letterpress refresher courses, book cover presentations and preliminary feedback.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll deal with planning and budgeting for delivering on client briefs, and use the resulting creative work to extend your design portfolio. You'll also be able to undertake the Adobe Certified Associate exams – a proof of competency in industry standard software for future employers.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Respond professionally and creatively to briefs as you research and develop solutions that meet design parameters
  • Show your skills in using design software as part of your creative practice
  • Demonstrate your high-level organisational and time management skills, as needed within a professional context
  • Practice effective client communication strategies
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 171 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 10-minute oral assessment and presentation (100% of final mark) - this includes submission of imagery and text to evidence work flow, schedule, estimate, agreed terms, communication with the client, the proposal of the design presented to the client, rounds of amends and final outcome

What you'll do

You'll also use this experience and material in applying for jobs.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Problem solve to develop a creative design solution appropriate to the perceived audience
  • Consolidate and demonstrate professional competencies in the use of appropriate technical skills and processes necessary for the production of promotional materials
  • Demonstrate through research and practice a creative and professional handling of issues relating to branding, identities and promotion
  • Apply through practice time management skills and a reflection of that process
  • Develop adaptive self-promotion skills and promotional materials for job seeking or further study
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops, and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll do

You'll select a theme, explore it through substantial research, and analyse your results in a 5,000-word dissertation.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Define and develop an appropriate topic for your research
  • Analyse and evaluate a range of research sources
  • Demonstrate sustained independent enquiry
  • Apply academic skills and conventions in an extended piece of scholarly writing
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and workshops and seminars.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 188 hours studying independently. This is around 11 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 5,000-word dissertation (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

With support from your supervisor, you'll develop an intellectual position and a conceptual creative response, based on your engagement with historical, theoretical, and cultural material.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Define and develop an appropriate topic, practice-based research strategy and a relevant creative concept
  • Engage with theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts in research sources
  • Demonstrate sustained research and independent enquiry
  • Apply academic skills and conventions in an extended piece of scholarly and reflective writing
  • Resolve project aims and present work appropriately
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and workshops, and seminars.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 188 hours studying independently. This is around 11 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 4,000-word project (100% of final mark).

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

It was the open day that convinced me, the broad skills range of the previous students and how much the course sets you up for real-life situations. I was also attracted to the course because of the exposure from competitions and external activities.

Lise Fjulsud Easton, BA (Hons) Graphic Design student

How you're assessed

Not a fan of exams? Don't worry – there aren't any on this course. Instead, you can let your designs do the talking.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • project presentations
  • research and developmental work
  • design portfolios
  • written essays or reports

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Previous students have completed work placements at the head offices of organisations such as Debenhams and Sainsbury’s, and agencies such as Really B2B.

Fancy setting up your own graphic design company on your placement year? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

What you can do on BA (Hons) Graphic Design
An interview with BA (Hons) Graphic Design alumnus Sam Barclay

Find out how BA (Hons) Graphic Design prepared Sam Barclay for the graphic design industry, and opened many career doors – including kickstarting a successful visual book, I Wonder What It's Like To Be Dyslexic.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • group critique
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

There’s an emphasis on practical sessions, a strong studio culture and developing a creative atmosphere that will inspire you.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Graphic Design degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical classes, workshops and supervised studio sessions for about 11 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You’ll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

Student support advisor

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

Academic skills tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Creative skills tutors

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

IT and computing support

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • All shortlisted applicants will need to attend an interview. Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,300 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to pay extra printing costs of around £100–£600 on portfolio work.

Material and production costs are around £100–£500 a year.

Any study trips are optional and you will be expected to pay full cost. Optional study trips abroad will cost in the region of £200–£800. UK trips, where offered, will be £50–£150.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W210
  • our institution code – P80

If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
  • tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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